User Guide


  • The Transfusion Evidence Library has been developed by NHS Blood and Transplant's Systematic Review Initiative (SRI) in Oxford, which is led by Professor Mike Murphy.
  • Its aim is to provide high-level evidence-based information on all aspects of blood donation, blood transfusion and alternatives to transfusion to clinicians, researchers and other related health professionals.


The Transfusion Evidence Library includes systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials and economic studies relevant to transfusion medicine. Many of the records in the database contain abstracts and/or links to the electronic full text.

1) Systematic reviews and meta-analyses from 1980 to present, which meet the following inclusion criteria:

i. The review addresses a clearly focused question and describes the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the review.

ii. At least one bibliographic database in addition to PubMed®/MEDLINE® was searched. All reviews that searched PubMed®/MEDLINE® only have been excluded.

2) Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) from 1950 to present

Controlled clinical trials are only included if the trial's interventions have been allocated randomly to the participant groups.

3) Economic studies from 1980 to present
Economic studies are only included if they are based on a systematic review.

Identification of Included Records

Records are sourced from MEDLINE® and from handsearching transfusion-related non-indexed literature, such as conference proceedings.

  • MEDLINE®: For searching MEDLINE®, an in-house search strategy was designed to identify papers relevant to all aspects of transfusion medicine. This was then combined with adaptations of the Cochrane RCT filter and the SIGN systematic review and economic studies search filters. Please note that the in-house search strategy has not been derived from or tested against a 'gold standard' set of studies, although it has been designed to be highly sensitive. Search strategies are available on request.
  • Handsearching: Systematic reviews and RCTs have also been identified by the SRI by the handsearching of proceedings from all transfusion-related conferences, including the annual meetings/congresses of: American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), American Society of Hematology (ASH), British Blood Transfusion Society (BBTS), British Society of Haematology (BSH), European Haematology Association (EHA), Haematology Society of Australia & New Zealand (HSANZ), International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT), International Society on Thrombosis & Haemostasis (ISTH) and the Network for the Advancement of Transfusion Alternatives (NATA) - all 1980 to present.

Searches for new records are conducted every month. Once the records have been either downloaded or manually transcribed, additional information is added to each record by the SRI information specialist(s), including clinical specialty, subject area and SRI keywords.

Searching the Transfusion Evidence Library

Main Search Page

On the main search page, searches can be performed by entering either a single search term, multiple search terms (the search will look for ALL of the terms within each record) or an exact phrase (within quotation marks) into the search box [boxed in purple]. Search terms can be truncated using an asterisk (*) - e.g. transfus* will find records containing the words transfusion, transfused, transfusing, etc.

Search results can be sorted by date, relevance, journal, title or reverse date using the drop-down menu [boxed in dark green].

Individual search results can be selected (or deselected) by clicking on the checkbox next to the record number. All search results can be selected by clicking on 'Select All' and deselected by clicking on 'Clear all selections' [boxed in orange].

Selected search results can be printed, emailed or saved by clicking on the Print, Email or Save buttons [boxed in brown].

Search Filters

Searches can also be performed using the 'Search filters' menu on the left-hand side of the screen [boxed in red]. One filter or sub-filter from each of the following 6 groups can be selected at any one time:

1) Clinical specialty - which can be filtered by:

  • Blood Donors
  • Critical Care (sub-filters: Burns; Intensive Care; Sepsis; Stroke; Trauma)
  • Haematology and Oncology (sub-filters: Haematology, Malignant; Haematology, Non-Malignant; Oncology)
  • Medicine (sub-filters: Autoimmune Diseases; Cardiovascular Disorders; Gastrointestinal Disorders; Hepatic and Biliary Diseases; Infectious Diseases; Kidney Diseases; Musculoskeletal Disorders; Neurological Disorders)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Surgery (sub-filters: Brain and Spinal Surgery; Cardiovascular Surgery; Dental and Maxillofacial Surgery; ENT and Eye Surgery; Gastro, Kidney and Liver Surgery; Genitourinary Surgery; Gynaecological and Obstetric Surgery; Orthopaedic Surgery).

2) Subject area - which can be filtered by:

  • Alternatives to Blood (sub-filters: Antifibrinolytics; Autologous Transfusion and Cell Salvage; Fractionated Blood Products; Recombinant Coagulation Factors)
  • Blood Components (sub-filters: Cryoprecipitate; Plasma/FFP; Platelets; Red Cells; White Cells/Granulocytes)
  • Clinical Practice (sub-filters: Adverse Effects of Transfusion; Management of Abnormal Haemostasis; Management of Anaemia; Therapeutic Apheresis; Transfusion Education; Transfusion Practice)
  • Donation Practice (sub-filters: Processing and Storage of Blood Products; Recruitment and Retention of Blood Donors; Treatment of Donors).
  • Patient type
    Selecting the 'Neonates and Paediatrics' filter restricts search results to articles which focus on neonatal and/or paediatric patients.
  • Study design - which can be filtered by:
  • Systematic Reviews
  • Randomised Controlled Trials
  • Economic Studies.
  • Date

Searches can be limited to publication year, year range, or to the past 5 or 10 years.

Text availability
Searches can be limited to records which have either abstracts (only) or full electronic text available to view.

Viewing Full Records

By clicking on the record title the full record is displayed, including full citation, abstract (where available), full text link (where available) and the following additional information:

  • Study design
  • Clinical specialty
  • Subject area
  • Language
  • SRI Keywords.

Search Tools

Find article

The 'Find article' option allows the user to search for a single reference by author name, title, year, journal title etc, or a combination of these [boxed in dark blue below].

Advanced search

The Advanced Search boxes can be used to combine search terms and/or to develop a search strategy. It can be accessed from all pages by clicking on Search Tools and selecting Advanced Search [boxed in dark blue].

You can combine search terms using the following operators:

OR - The OR operator retrieves records that contain any or all of the search terms. Use this operator to broaden your search results.

AND - The AND operator retrieves only those records that include all of the search terms. Use this operator to narrow your search results.

NOT - The NOT operator retrieves records that contain the first search term but excludes records with the second search term.

Fields that can be combined using the Advanced Search drop-down boxes are:

  • Title - Enter one or more words from the title of the publication.
  • Author - Enter the name of one of the authors on the article. This field has an auto complete feature and a dropdown list of possible options will appear after typing the first few letters of the author name. You can also enter the surname followed by a space and first initial.
  • Journal - Enter the full name of the journal in which an article was published. This field has an auto complete feature and a dropdown list of possible options will appear after typing the first few letters of the journal name.
  • Year - Enter the year the publication was published in the printed journal.
  • Volume - Enter the volume number of the journal in which the document was published.
  • Issue - The Issue/Part field contains the Issue and/or Part for a particular volume of a journal. Supplement information will also appear here when applicable.
  • Author address - Enter any details of the department, city or country of any of the authors.
  • Keywords - Enter a term specific to the subject(s) of interest.
  • Abstract - Enter words or a phrase of interest to be found in the article abstract.

In addition, more complex searches can be performed in one of two ways, by either:

  1. using multiple search boxes with the drop-down Boolean operator boxes, or
  2. typing search terms and Boolean operators into a single search box.

Transfusion Evidence Alert

Please click on the Transfusion Evidence Alert button [boxed in red above] to find out more about our free monthly alert service, providing you with a selection of the most important and newest publications around the world about blood transfusion and transfusion alternatives.

Printing, Emailing and Saving Search Results

  • Once a search has been completed, search results can be printed, emailed or saved (downloaded).
  • First, select the records of interest (either individually or by clicking on the 'Select All' button), and then click on either the Print, Email or Save button on the top right of the screen. You will be taken to the 'Save or print selected results' screen below.
  • Select the format you would like for your selected search results: search results can be formatted as citation only ('Summary'), citation and abstract ('Abstract'), RIS (for importing into bibliographic software, such as EndNote) or Csv (for importing into spreadsheets).
  • Select the method by which your search results are sorted: either by date, author, journal or title.
  • Once formatting and sorting options have been selected, please click on 'Save to File' for printing and saving, and on 'Save to Email' for emailing search results.